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Barcelona - Getting there & away, getting around

Barcelona - Getting there & away

Barcelona's airport is 12km (7.5mi) southwest of the city centre at El Prat de Llobregat. The city is a big international and domestic destination, with direct flights from North America and many European cities. Departure tax is factored into ticket prices.

You can take domestic and international trains to Barcelona. The main train station is Estació Sants, 2.5km (1.6mi) west of La Rambla, with some trains also stopping at Catalunya station on Plaça de Catalunya. Only a few trains use Estació França, 1km (0.6mi) east of La Rambla.

Buses are generally cheaper than trains, though not so comfortable. The main intercity bus station, Estació del Nord, is 1.5km (0.9mi) northeast of La Rambla, close to Arc de Triomf metro.

You can get to Barcelona via ferry from the Balearic Islands and Italy. From the Balearics there are standard boats, on which you can get beds in cabins of up to four people and high-speed boats on which sleepers are not necessary.

Getting around Barcelona

Rodalies (Cercanías) train line 1 runs between the airport (zone 4) and centre of town (zone 1). Trains run daily every 30 minutes from 06:13 to 23:15. It takes about 17 minutes to reach Estació Sants and 23 minutes to Catalunya station. You can use normal metro tickets for this service. The A1 Aerobús service runs from the airport to Plaça de Catalunya via Plaça d'Espanya. The trip is about 40 minutes. Suburban buses EA and EN leave every 90 minutes for Plaça d'Espanya; they take about 50 minutes. There is generally no shortage of taxis available to/from the centre. It's a half-hour ride.

Renfe-run Rodalies service the airport as well as towns around Barcelona. Buses run along most city routes every few minutes, and there's a tourist bus that covers two circuits of major sites.

For the most part it's better to abandon your car while you're here - the traffic is more grief than it's worth. The public transport is excellent, but taxis are easily available. A green light on the roof means the taxi is for hire.

Although the moped rules in Barcelona, plenty of people zip around on bicycles. Use bike lanes if you can - the traffic is a little hairy.

The metro is the easiest way to get around most of the city. You may need buses or suburban trains to reach some places.

Barri Gòtic and surrounding areas are ideal for walking, but you'll probably need to use public transport to reach further-flung sites like La Sagrada Família and Parc Güell more efficiently.

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